The Australian government’s blueprint for the Antarctic is due out soon. Given the recent cuts in public funding for science, what hope is there for any extra monies for the polar region. And what should Australia’s future be in Antarctica?
Tony Press, ex-director of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), was commissioned last October to review Australia’s Antarctic engagement and to develop a 20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan. It’s due to be delivered to the Environment Minister Greg Hunt in the coming weeks.
Many aspects of our Antarctic commitment will be covered, including the strategic importance of our Antarctic interests, transport to and within the continent and Australia’s commitment to globally relevant science, to name a few.
Australia claims some 42% of the Antarctic continent and since 1929 the Australian government has supported scientific research expeditions to the great southern land.
In 1947 these expeditions were formalised as the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) and in 1948 the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) was established within the Department of External Affairs.